Review: Just Visiting by Dahlia Adler

Sunday, November 15, 2015
Title: Just Visiting
Author: Dahlia Adler
Genre: contemporary
Series: N/A
Pages: 348
Published: expected November 17 2015
Source: received for review 
Rating: 4/5

Reagan Forrester wants out—out of her trailer park, out of reach of her freeloading mother, and out of the shadow of the relationship that made her the pariah of Charytan, Kansas.

Victoria Reyes wants in—in to a fashion design program, in to the arms of a cute guy who doesn't go to Charytan High, and in to a city where she won't stand out for being Mexican.

One thing the polar-opposite best friends do agree on is that wherever they go, they’re staying together. But when they set off on a series of college visits at the start of their senior year, they quickly see that the future doesn’t look quite like they expected. After two years of near-solitude following the betrayal of the ex-boyfriend who broke her heart, Reagan falls hard and fast for a Battlestar Galactica-loving, brilliant smile-sporting pre-med prospective... only to learn she's set herself up for heartbreak all over again. Meanwhile, Victoria runs full-speed toward all the things she thinks she wants… only to realize everything she’s looking for might be in the very place they've sworn to leave.

As both Reagan and Victoria struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present, they discover just how much they don't know about each other's pasts. And when each learns what the other’s been hiding, they'll have to decide whether their friendship has a future.

Just Visiting is a great example of why I love YA literature. It's a book about two best friends -- Reagan and Victoria -- but it's honest and realistic and and full of heart. It's about life and growing up, growing older and maybe growing apart from your old life. The main characters are on the cusp of adulthood; learning what it means to be on your own and how to make the choices that will lead in the right direction. It's the closest a coming of age novel has come to my own life and it's deftly written and so much fun. Dahlia Adler is the kind of author that can put into words just how that new phase of adulthood felt without veering saccharine.

The characters in Just Visiting are authentic and fully dimensional -- so much so that I could easily find pieces of myself in both girls. There's a great friendship at the heart of the novel but it's a friendship that changes and evolves over the course of the three hundred fifty pages. Adler isn't afraid to put her characters (and readers) through the emotional ringer and does so more than once over the course of the story. I loved the slow reveal behind each character's reasons for both being in Charytan and for what they want out of life. Vic and Reagan may be from totally different background but their friendship is grounded in support, loyalty, and love.

There's one definite ship full of feeeels and pain and a baby ship that begs for a non sequel novel set in a restaurant, if you know what I mean. I love how diverse the cast is in this novel, as well. Victoria  and her family are Mexican, and her mother is also deaf. Dave*, the main love interest of the story, is Indian. Reagan's family is below the poverty line and far from a healthy homelife. This is a microcosm of real life; there is real representation to be found in Just Visiting and it is damn refreshing.  And, also, these side chracters aren't one note 0r defined by their diverse characteristics. More books like this, please.

Also an added bonus to reading a Dahlia Adler novel? Sex positivity. And the subsequent lack of slut shaming or girl hate for a rival.  The depiction of sex in the novel is realistic but it's handled so well. This is a book that gets being a teen and respects its audience enough to be honest.

If you like humor, banter, natural and authentic diversity, shippy feels, and a best friendship to remember, Just Visiting is the book you need to read. The nuanced characters of Reagan and Vic carry the story, but the entire novel is engaging, lively, and a new favorite.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.